Blondie Portrait

When Stars Played Pinball

Once upon a time, there was nothing cooler than pulling the plunger.

Pinball machines went electric in the 1930s, and ever since they've had a slightly subversive, cool-kid vibe — the thrusting, light-flashing, and bing-bing noise of it all. So why would you be surprised to see Blondie (above) and other stars with their fingers on the flippers?

Keith Moon Smokes and, Probably, Tilts; 1978 Ted Streshinsky Photographic Archive/Corbis via Getty Images Keith Moon Smokes and, Probably, Tilts; 1978 Bobby Fischer Thinks Three Balls Ahead; 1962 Carl Mydans/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images Bobby Fischer Thinks Three Balls Ahead; 1962 Sophia Loren Has a Very Light Touch; 1960 Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images Sophia Loren Has a Very Light Touch; 1960 Hugh Hefner Tries for an Extra Ball; 1975 NBC/NBC via Getty Images Hugh Hefner Tries for an Extra Ball; 1975 Claude Charbrol, the French 'New Wave' Director, Plays 'Le Flipper;' 1959 GAROFALO Jack/Paris Match via Getty Images Claude Charbrol, the French 'New Wave' Director, Plays 'Le Flipper;' 1959 Paolo Coelho, Author, Thinker, Silver-Ball Plinker; 1994 Antonio RIBEIRO/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images Paolo Coelho, Author, Thinker, Silver-Ball Plinker; 1994 Frank Sinatra Plays His Way: With a Pipe; 1943 Herbert Gehr/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images Frank Sinatra Plays His Way: With a Pipe; 1943 Pete Townshend and His Crazy Flipper Fingers; 1989 Michael Putland/Getty Images Pete Townshend and His Crazy Flipper Fingers; 1989 Wrestler Francisco Pino Farina (a.k.a. L'Ange Blanc, Pancho Pino, El Angel Blanco) Eyes the Targets; 1959 Lipnitzki/Roger Viollet/Getty Images Wrestler Francisco Pino Farina (a.k.a. L'Ange Blanc, Pancho Pino, El Angel Blanco) Eyes the Targets; 1959 Ted Nugent Has Pinball Fever, Too; 1978 Ron Pownall/Getty Images Ted Nugent Has Pinball Fever, Too; 1978 Aaron Spelling and His Very Own 'Charlie's Angels'; undated Steve Schapiro/Corbis via Getty Images Aaron Spelling and His Very Own 'Charlie's Angels'; undated Steven Spielberg, Too Good for Pinball; 1975 Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images Steven Spielberg, Too Good for Pinball; 1975